autumn garden

Inspired by Jane and Cathy with their spring gardens, I’ve just taken some pics of what’s happening in my AUTUMN garden right now. It’s my favourite season, even more than spring, and Cape Town’s southern suburbs had beautiful rain all through the night. Here are some of the colourful bits:

Lycianthes rantonnetii, or blue potato.

blue potato sun

Philadelphus coronarius, or mock orange, next to the front gate, in full bloom. The scent is unbelievable. In about two weeks time, the blossoms will fall off and it will look like a mini-snowfall on the ground underneath.

mock orange sun

Perched next to the front door, my beloved red crassula. Eighteen months old and looking like an underwater creature today :)

crassula sun

Next to the driveway, this stunning yellow hibiscus was here when I moved in.

hibiscus sun

The last pic from the front garden, two baby ice-cream bushes (breynia disticha) next to the letterbox, recently freed from the grip of some creeping weedy things and doing very well.

ice cream sun

Moving to the back garden now. The overcast day doesn’t do justice to this pic of the Duranta erecta (golden dewdrops). The flowers really are a glorious purple.

duranta sun

On the patio, this plectranthus was a tiny cutting two weeks ago. It grew so big and so fast it seems to think it’s a banana tree.

plectranthus sun

Some nasturtiums in pots, which those hungry black and yellow caterpillars just love to gobble up. I yell a bit when they’ve decimated a whole plant, but I do get rewarded by butterflies.

nasturtiums sun

The last three surviving petunias. I had to move the hanging basket because they weren’t getting enough sun. There’s also a convolvulus in there but it hasn’t flowered yet.

petunia sun

Tradescantia going beserk, hanging on the trellis. Who said you can’t grow things in old peanut butter jars…?


And then this – Stapelia clavicorona (yes, most unfortunate name) or milkweed toad plant. It lives in the pot it came in on a stand next to the kitchen window, and just seemed like a bunch of greeny-purple sticky-up shoots until yesterday morning, when it produced this. I was ambling around in my dressing gown throwing seed for the birds when I spotted the bloom. I nearly fainted with excitement, and then shrieked so loudly that my neighbour whatsapped me to make sure I was alright.

toad 2

A close-up. It’s magnificence, combined with the wondrous surprise of it even being there at all, is matched only by its vile stench. Google tells me it is also known as a carrion flower. All I can say is that carrion is getting a bad rap because the smell couldn’t possibly come close to this foul odour.

You can see there are another two buds just popping their heads out on the right.

milkweed toad 1

Every day I am grateful for the garden and the beautiful part of the world I live in. I’m really missing seeing friends, going out for sushi, having my hair trimmed (and the grey roots dealt with!), not to mention earning a living – aaarrrgggghhhh – but I acknowledge how very fortunate I am. Sending lockdown love to you all xxx


15 thoughts on “autumn garden

  1. Rainbow Junkie

    Quite fascinating to see your garden and all the interesting plants. Some I recognise, like the tradescantia that I had as a house plant at one time. That last flower though is quite weird and quite amazing. Shame it smells so bad.

    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      To get a good whiff, I have to stick my nose right up close – not something I will make the mistake of doing again. Luckily it doesn’t actually radiate the odour (if radiate is the right word!)

  2. katechiconi

    Duranta erecta is called Geisha Girl here. Love your yellow hibiscus – I miss the big yellow double blooms with a burgundy heart of the hibiscus bush at my last house, but I do have two variegated-leave bushes with scarlet blooms here. Your plants are looking beautifully cared-for and lush, that rain must have done them some good.

  3. Nice Piece of Work Post author

    Sadly there are large patches of beyond-dead plants, which I will have to clear out sooner or later, mainly ground cover and gazanias. The rain last week and last night may have saved all the rest, though, and it’s incredible how quickly a thirsty plant can make a come-back. Also it means lots of spare rainwater in the tank for the next dry spell, so very good news for Capetonians :) As soon as the nurseries are allowed to re-open, I will be first in line for some new babies, some sweet pea seeds and lots of fertiliser. But at the rate we’re going, with some of the most absurd lockdown regulations in the WORLD, that’ll be at the end of 2021………… arrrgghhh

  4. Gail

    Pretty pretty garden Jill, so happy for you living there. I am very impressed that you know all those looong names of the various plants. Grass, weeds and flowers are about the extent of my horticultural knowledge.

    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      I don’t know all the names, Gail, had to google a few! I should be able to remember the names for a few hours but then they’ll disappear from my brain entirely….;)

  5. tgonzales

    Oh Jill! Your gardens and plants are beautiful. You truly have a green thumb even though you tell me just remember to water them. I think you have done a wonderful job. Thanks for sharing. Love and Hugs, Tamara

    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      Thanks, Tamara, my favourite part is sitting on the patio with a glass of wine at the end of the day just looking at it all and feeling peaceful (or at least trying very hard to feel peaceful) xxx

  6. nanacathy2

    Oh my goodness , it looks like a tropical paradise. I can’t believe your mock orange blooms in the Autumn, here they bloom in June and July. The stinky flower looks amazing with two new blooms to come. Just wow.

    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      Hi Cathy, I’ve just been in the front garden, the mock orange is actually humming with bees, it’s covered in them!!! Every day I look for chameleons but they haven’t thrived in the suburbs so they are scarce. We have the Cape Dwarf chameleon here, indigenous to the Western Cape. I sometimes see some at my friend’s house in Noordhoek, which is less built up.
      I managed to find sweet pea seeds at the hardware store yesterday, so planting them is on my list of things to do today.

    2. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      Tropical paradise? Not so much!!!! For gardens more tropical, you’d need to go to a different part of South Africa. I was just lucky that the previous owner had planted some nice stuff, and not all of it in stupid places (I did do some rearranging and removing, just to make my mark, you know). I’ve just heard that the nurseries in Cape Town will be open tomorrow – so exciting. I’m sure I can find something to tempt me….

  7. insearchofitall

    That’s a lot of garden going on there. Very interesting plants you have. Thanks so much for giving me the correct name of Tradescantia for what I had more of here than I could handle. A neighbor gave me a start and it started a colony. I had it in jars and containers everywhere trying to give some away. My daughter took some to co-workers for their desks. They do wander. ;) That making a living thing is a bit tricky right now. I don’t know how you manage. Fortunately, my daughter is able to work from home for awhile still. She loves it. I’m ready to get out and visit with friends too. I hope you are holding up and surviving somehow.

    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      I’m surviving on my wits (uh oh, could be trouble there) and my savings. My household expenses are very low and I have no debt. I am so grateful for that. Laughing about your colony of tradescantia – I tend to gravitate towards plants that do their own thing like that. That’s why I’m careful with weeds – I don’t like to pull them out too soon in case it turns out to be something I like ;)


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